In The Face of Flickr, Whither Dot Mac?

by Tom Bridge

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I've been a .Mac member since the iTools days, when space was free and email was plentiful. At the time, it was a great service that interoperated well with all Macs, and gave Mac users a chance to store their photos in striking galleries, build cool webpages and have a neat, short email address.

But then came Flickr, which took care of all my hosting needs, with more space than I could shake a stick, or my Canon 10D, at. For a quarter of the price. Now, I can't make pretty webpages, and I can't mount my flickr storage on my desktop, nor can I get email, but wow, what an improvement over the .Mac photo gallery. With Fraser Speirs' FlickrExport, I sure can't see a difference in the interoperation of the .Mac service versus the Flickr service.

Now, Flickr's doing things that even iPhoto can't do, allowing you to make DVD slideshows without a DVD drive, turn your photos into (expensive) stamps or turn Target into a 1 hour photo place for your prints. What's best about the whole thing is that flickr has free accounts with full access to all these features. And $25 buys you twice the space for photos than a .Mac account, at a quarter the price. {Note after the fact: $25 buys you 24GB of photo uploads per year, with an unlimited amount of storage. Meaning you can literally keep adding 24GB of photos a year to your flickr account. Try doing that with .Mac!}

The problem here is that with the exception of data-syncing, .Mac is a the same service it was in the late 1990s, and that's concerning. If I wasn't so dependent on my email address, I might well be looking elsewhere for email services and relying on flickr for the rest of what I use .Mac for. How can .Mac improve as Flickr has in order to keep your business?

Flickr or .Mac?


2005-10-27 06:50:36
$25 buys you more than that
$25 buys you twice the space for photos

Actually, $25/yr buys you an unlimited amount of space on Flickr. Paid Flickr users may upload 2 GB worth of photos each month.

More info in their FAQ:

2005-10-27 07:18:18
$25 buys you more than that
You're right, it's 24GB of space, then. 25x, for a quarter the cost. Not shabby.
2005-10-27 08:25:57
.Mac is more than foto storage
I use both dot mac and Flickr. It is Backup with dot Mac and iSync that makes it worth the price of admission. The ability to have an off-site backup of key files gives a lot of peace of mind. And if you use several machines then iSync starts to come in handy. If all I needed was a place to save photos then I would have to agree with you. Of course it would be great if dot Mac started counting bandwidth instead of actual storage like flickr does.
2005-10-27 14:32:02
Alternate Reason
I would suspect I'm not alone in representing a different class of user of .Mac. Now, I readily acknowledge that .Mac is deficient in many (many) ways, and I've been using it since the Olde Days of iTools. And there's the iRub - .Mac provides me with a stable, fixed, email address and website home .

Yes, the cost of creating my own domain and finding hosting is a lot less, but in order to get a lot of the .Mac goodness, I have to do a lot more work, as well as going through the (now considerable) pain of changing my addresses.

2005-10-27 17:12:38
Same mistaken Argument
1 GB of storage can store thousands of web quality images or about a thousand 5MP images. Nowm although that is far less than my full catalog of photos, it is more than most people will ever consider uploading. And lets just dismiss the free option because you are limited to 10MB per month. It would take over a Decade to put the GB of data that .Mac supports.

This reminds me of Gmail's 2GB of mail storage. They could have offered 200GB and it would not have mattered because virtually no body can or would use it, and it is low bandwidth traffic because limited numbers of people can access it.

Another myth is that .mac costs $99. You can buy it every day of the week for closer to $70 so we are talking about 3x the price not 4x the price. So what does this get you?

Unlimited flexibility in your web pages. I must admit that the built in flickr options are very good. But with the solid templates that Apple offers and the ability to post anything to your site you just can't compare.

Speed! View a full resolution file on Flickr and one on .mac. Apple's servers are about 2-4 times the speed of flickrs.
iMap email - much nicer than POP
Movie and general file hosting.
Remote access to calendars and addressbook.
Sharing of calendars and addressbooks.
Backup and sync of systems.

But what it comes down to is that the .mac account is a hosting site with webdav access and solid integration between this and the built in applications of Tiger.

So, yes, if all you want to share is photos or you have a huge number of photos flicker is a useful tool for only $25/month. But if you use the other general features (the iDisk is what keeps me on) flickr is probably not a .Mac killer.

BTW! at $25/DVD. Someone is making a killing!
And the book options offered do not hold a candle to the options of iPhoto.

As long as Apple continues to upgrade it's service regularly I will probably be a .mac member for life. Right now I want to see them allow for an LDAP compliant shared directory for groups. How great would it be for small businesses, family and friends to share contacts with each other.